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Subject: Fluxx Ver. 3.0 - A Review rss

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Craig Hargraves
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Fluxx Ver. 3.0

Designers: Andrew Looney & Kristin Looney
Publisher: Looney Labs
Year: 2002
Players: 2-6
Ages: 8-80
Playing Time: 2-30 minutes

The Idea
Fluxx, as the name implies, is all about change. It’s a light filler in which players try to match the win condition of the game. All the while the win condition actually changes as do the rules of the game…

In the Box
Fluxx is made up of 84 cards which come in a nice compact box that is very transportable so can be easily taken along when travelling. The cards are fairly plainly made up. They are primarily black and white with only a stripe of colour down the left hand side to identify the kind of card it is. Illustrations and icons on the cards are clear if a bit plain. The card stock is reasonable and the deck will stand up to a lot of play. There is a fair amount of text on the cards explaining the rules so younger children may struggle with some of the reading.

Amongst the 84 cards there are four different kinds of cards. Goals are identified by a pink stripe and these cards establish what the win conditions of the game are and this will change throughout the game. They generally require some combination of Keepers such as Rocket to the Moon which requires you to have the Moon and the Rocket Keepers in play in front of you. Others require different conditions such as having 10 cards in your hand.

Keepers are identified by a green stripe and are cards which you can keep (appropriately enough) by playing them in front of you. Keepers are used to make combinations that match the goal card and thus win the game.

Rules have a yellow stripe and when played change the rules of the game. Rules changes tend to affect the number of cards you draw or play or places some limits on your hand size. There’s a fair variety of rules and the rules of the game can get quite involved. One of the Rules cards has a white back instead of black and is the starting rules, which always stays in play.

Finally there are Actions which allow you to do a variety of different things such as removing rules, stealing Keepers, exchanging hands with another player and so on. Again there’s a lot of variety to these cards.

There’s also a small black and white rules sheet which explains basic game play. It’s nothing fancy but it tells you what you need to know.

Basic Game Play Summary
Play starts with the Basic Rules card (the one with the white back) in the middle of the table and each player being dealt 3 cards each. The basic rules are: Draw 1, Play 1. Initially there’s no Goal card in play and thus no way to win.

Play then proceeds around the table with players following the current rules by drawing and playing the required number of cards. Beyond the number of cards you can play there is no real limitation on what cards you can play. As you play cards you simply need to read the instructions on the card and follow them. Play continues like this until one of the players matches the Goal card in the middle.

That’s it.

Fluxx is very chaotic and it can be difficult, sometimes even pointless, to plan ahead. While it is possible to try to plan how you want to win a lot will be left to chance and games can tend to end very suddenly.

But is it purely chance? Not really. There is no doubt that having a knowledge of the cards in the deck gives you an advantage over other players who don’t know the cards. An experienced player can often contrive combinations of cards and the order in which cards are played often is an important factor and this often comes with experience. But the element of chance is always there as with any card game.

The playing time above has a fairly wide margin and this mostly down to the chaotic nature of the game. However you can expect most games to last about 5 to 10 minutes. Play usually proceeds fairly quickly although depending on the rules in play down time can become a problem as one player works through a hand of 10 or so cards to determine the order to play them in.

Who Would Like It?
It’s safe to say that if you’re the kind of person who likes to think strategically about games, make plans and have the best player win then Fluxx may not be of interest to you. You may get extremely frustrated with the game.

If you enjoy most party games you’ll probably get a kick out of Fluxx. Fluxx is meant to be played a few times in the space of about 30 minutes. It’s best to go into the game with a strong desire to laugh rather than to win.

As such Fluxx will best suit the more casual gamer. It can also be a great game to take on holidays and play with friends who don’t usually play a lot of games. Kids also tend to enjoy the chaos of Fluxx.

The most important thing I think with Fluxx is to not over-play it at any one time or else the chaos and chance can become a bit frustrating.

Where to From Here
If you enjoy Fluxx then Looney Labs also produces a number of themed variations including Ecofluxx and Zombiefluxx. These can add some variety to your game. Also available are blank Fluxx cards so you can add your own ideas.

Also if you enjoyed the light-hearted nature of Fluxx then you might enjoy some of the games produced by Steve Jackson Games and Cheap Ass Games as these companies also tend to produce games with a similar feel.

* Review edited 20/8 to include the wording change mentioned below *
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John Holder
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Craig_H wrote:

It’s safe to say that if you’re the kind of person who likes to think strategically about games, make plans and have the best player win then Fluxx probably won’t be of interest to you. You will probably get extremely frustrated with the game.

...
As such Fluxx will best suit the more casual gamer. It can also be a great game to take on holidays and play with friends who don’t usually play a lot of games. Kids also tend to enjoy the chaos of Fluxx.


Personally, I find this analysis of who would like it to be overly simplistic. I'm not a casual gamer, and I like many kinds of games, from strategic to chaotic/party/luck games, and really as long as my expectation of what kind of game I'm playing matches the game, I find no reason to become frustrated over a any game.

I do not dislike the chaos of Fluxx because it isn't a strategy game, despite liking many strategy games. I do not dislike the lack of randomness in Chess, despite liking chaotic games...
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Craig Hargraves
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Fair points although I think any attempt at assessment of who would or wouldn't like a game to be simplistic by nature. What I was trying to present here was my interpretation of why many people dislike Fluxx. And the impression I've received from many people is that they dislike the heavy luck factor and that a player's skill isn't necessarily rewarded.

Possibly my word choice was a bit strong here. "may not be of interest to you" would perhaps have been better than "probably won't be of interest to you".

Thanks very much for reading in any case and for the feedback.
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John Holder
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Fair enough!
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